Inspiration comes from many things in life and can motivate one to maximize life! When on travel, one may have a scheduled path and planned activities and places to see. But sometimes you may encounter a detour or stumble upon a hidden gem. Here are a few of my detours or hidden gems of which … Continue reading Travel & Places
Take the journey and explore places of wonder and blight. You’ll enjoy seeing and learning about some of the nations national parks, beautiful beaches, and several hiking trails across the country. Arizona Camelback Mountain * Echo Canyon Hike If you are looking for a weekend getaway and a moderate yet challenging hike, you may be … Read more Hiking & Nature
6 Easy Exercises To Do With One Tool While On Travel One of my favorite activities to do is hiking. Most of the hiking trails we explore can range from the local mountains in Southern California or large canyons and cliffs in the National Parks. Some of these hikes can present challenges and requires strength … Read more HikeFit 101
Recently, there have been several spotting of killer whales gracing the coastal regions in Southern California. Whales have been known to roam in the southern Pacific certain times of the year. I’ve also seen several local news outlets capturing video of these majestic animals and their calves as they search for food in these waters. So, of course, seeing this inspired me to go out on a little adventure and do some of my own searching. I hopped in the car and cruised my way over to La Jolla, California.
La Jolla, California is a quintessential smaller coastal community located in San Diego County. It might be one of the most beautiful beach towns I’ve ever seen.
I have perused around this quaint community several years ago, but I was too focused on this short road trip to browse around the shops and boutiques again. I was in search of whales and surfers, since it was officially California Surfer Day.
I spent the afternoon pondering the coastal walkways and sidewalks, staring and glancing for hours out at the mesmerizing blue green waters.
It was getting late, and with disappointment and frustration, there were still no whales or surfers in sight. I did however, have a great time capturing all the beauty and wildlife that make these coves home. There were seagulls, pelicans, and seals soaking up the sun everywhere you looked.
Take a preview of what my day at the office consisted of below. Enjoy!
Shell Beach, Lajolla, CA
The park here in La Jolla Cove area is beautiful and peaceful to enjoy a quiet afternoon or a lunchtime break.
More gorgeous scenic captions here.
Did you know that La Jolla Cove is one of the most photographed beaches in Southern California?
If you look close, the small rock island is covered with seals and birds lounging as they soak up the sun and relax.
Sealife is an abundance here at La Jolla Cove and La Jolla Shores area.
If you are visiting the San Diego area, you might considering adding La Jolla Cove to your itinerary, it will certainly not disappoint. This was my office for the day.
Thank you for reading! Check out more of San Diego and don’t miss out on another cool adventure!
There are so many beautiful hiking trails and nature walks throughout San Diego County, but one of San Diego’s most popular and well known hiking spots is Mt. Woodson. This hike will offer you plenty of nature viewing pleasure and scenic landscapes.
But the point of interest that captures many hikers is Potato Chip Rock. This narrow, thin looking piece of rock might appear somewhat risky and scary. This is the most popular selfie and photo taking spots on the trail. Here are my captions from this gorgeous San Diego hiking trail.
Mt. Woodson: Backside Trail: 4.1 Miles Elevation 1220 feet
The backside trail is one of two different trails to hike to get to the Potato Chip Rock area. We decided to take the backside trail to see what Mt. Woodson was all about. Especially since we wanted to enjoy a more moderate level trail and not over do it for the weekend.
This was a beautiful trail and we were complimented with a gorgeous sunny afternoon too. Parking for this trail is actually along CA-67; and it can be busy so be careful and be patient in looking for a space to park.
The trail starts off nice and easy with neat walkways and shrubs and treeline paths. Then there are some steep incline areas as it reminded me of being on my stair stepper at the gym. I definitely encountered some heavy breathing, but that’s my kind of workout. Once you reach near the summit, you will see some radio antenna equipment and towers. Just slightly past that area is the infamous Potato Chip Rock, and if you hike during the weekend you may encounter a waiting line to step onto the thin appearing but steady rock piece that looks like a potato chip.
San Diego has such a vast array of things to do, including the beaches, nightlife, amusement parks, and more. But if you just want to take a few hours and explore the outdoors and keep it simple, go check out Mt. Woodson near Poway, California. Directions
Beginning of trail from the backside path, (parking off of Highway 67).
Summer is one of my favorite times of year, so I wanted to compile a recap of some of the most spectacular #sunsets in places I have had the privilege of witnessing. In the last 10 months, I have had the opportunity to go exploring and travel a little more than previous years. We seen […]
Making memories can be one of the most extraordinary things a person can do. It usually does not involve material items; no hand held gifts, or any fancy cars or clothing. It can however, bring unbelievable happiness and be extremely humbling. Actually, this might be exactly how I would describe my first time weekend road trip to Mammoth Lakes, California. Amazing and more!
But Mammoth, with its neighbor being Yosemite National Park, is not only a place for such incredible outdoor activity and stunning natural beauty, it’s also a place where one might enjoy grazing across the lake in a fishing boat with your father and brother. Or indulging yourself in the fresh air as you and your sister reach the summit of a mountain trail. And even taking in those remarkable landscape and mountain views with your sweetheart.
The amazing beauty in Mammoth is what I remember only hearing about it from friends. They told me how much fun there was to be had at Mammoth and where it is located. I’ve only heard about the incredible amount of activity that one can do there; such as hiking, biking, kayaking, skiing, boating, and surrounding yourself with total nature! And of course, people were always bragging to me about how beautiful, quiet, and serene it is in those mountains.
Hence, the mountains were calling..(-John Muir) and then we go. A friend of ours had already planned her weekend road trip to Mammoth and she asked if we wanted to join her; and we said of course, we are all in! So we packed our bags and prepped the car and planned to maximize our weekend filled with incredible hikes, mountain vistas, and relaxing kayaking. Check out these great ways to make your own memories of which you may want to add to your own Mammoth Mountain itinerary.
Seven Lakes Point Loop: Hiking Trail and Views
A. Elevation: 2372 Feet gain, starting at Twin Lakes Campground, it will take you by the bottomless pit and Lava Tube. (This hike is considered risky and dangerous due to the soft and loose gravel).
B. Spectacular views of at least 5 or so lakes.
2. Lava Tube: Hiking and History
Lava Tube is a conduit where lava once flowed, cooled and created a cave-like hole in the rock above Lower Twin Lake. This geologic formation is commonly referred to as “Hole in the Wall.”
Down In The Lower Valley Areas: Reds Meadow Valley
You will need to have access to the lower areas into the valley of Mammoth Mountain via shuttle down to these following areas.
The shuttle route begins at Mammoth Mountain Ski Area’s Adventure Center and makes several stops throughout the valley and begins operating when the Reds Meadow Road opens in the summer, and continues through Labor Day weekend. The price per person is $8 / ticket per day. The Reds Meadow/Devils Postpile Shuttle has provided transit service into the Reds Meadow Valley and to the Devils Postpile National Monument for over 30 years! The parking area fills up quick.
3. Devils Postpile (Rainbow Falls hiking Trail) National Monument:
Devils Postpile National Monument is a National Monument located near Mammoth Mountain. The monument protects Devils Postpile, an unusual rock formation of columnar basalt. You will pass by Devils Postpile on your hiking path down to another spectacular main attraction: Rainbow Falls.
4. Rainbow Falls: Hiking and Views with Waterfalls
Rainbow Falls is a waterfall in the Middle Fork of the San Joaquin River.
Additionally, as you continue your hike you may notice the Pacific Crest Trail merging into the trail while passing through this monument. And you will also notice the National Monument lies within the borders of the Ansel Adams Wilderness.
There is also the ‘Lower Falls’ that many folks do not venture further down below. This is a beautiful area where waterfalls are splashing into the stream of which some people enjoy a cool dip in the water or some are a little more adventurous and they jump off some of the lower rock formations. This area is a nice place to relax, enjoy a snack before the hike back up the trail to the top to catch the shuttle to return from out of the valley.
5. Minaret Falls Trail: Hiking Trail to Waterfalls. Minaret Vista
This is a moderate trail located near Lake Mary, California with scenic views. This hike is enjoyable and great for walking and nature trips and bird watching.
The falls are very nice and can be a challenge climbing upward to be close to them. Minaret Falls
East of Mammoth Lakes area.
6. Convict Lake: Kayaking
Kayaking on Convict lake is incredible as you can enjoy the calm and peaceful aspects of quiet and serene lake surroundings, as well as the outstanding views of Laurel Mountain that hugs the lake. This place has an interesting history attached to it as well. Back in the late 1800’s several prisoners escaped from a Nevada prison and fled towards an area now known as Convict creek. Read more about it here:
7. Hot Creek Geological Site:
Pretty but dangerous, this Hot Creek Geological site is an active hot bed of nature in action. Boiling water is bubbling up from the creek bed. Amazing to look at & ponder, but I keep a distance. Located at the bottom of a large volcanic basin, this is an interesting place to see and visit, but you must keep at a distance because the hot creek is dangerously hot and can contain arsenic and other natural substances that can be toxic.
8. The Village at Mammoth:
Enjoy a day of fun, shopping, music, and other events at The Village at Mammoth. Here you will find many events and fun! The weekend over the Labor Day, we attended the Rock N Rye event; of which we enjoyed a few live bands, vendors, morning yoga, and many other activities throughout the weekend! This area is the quaint downtown part of Mammoth and is the home of many highly visited restaurants. We had dinner at two restaurants located in this area (the tourist area), but we later learned that the really tasty dishes were found in food eateries located on the other side of town away from the tourist area.
In summary, if you think a collection of ‘things’ will give you the same reward of experiences of quality time with family or friends in a special place, think again. Memories can not be fabricated, bought, fall apart, or manufactured. I know I will always cherish this weekend with my wonderful husband, and our special friend; Sam who was so gracious in asking us to piggyback on her weekend trip that she planned out and arranged the kayaking reservation and other fun activities!
Do you have any special memory making trips that turned out to be more than you expected? Please share in the comments your memorable trips and if you have experience in Mammoth, California! Thank you again for reading and for all your support! Here are some of my other memory making trips!
Valley of Fire State Park is located about 55 miles northeast of Las Vegas off of Interstate 15. We passed this sign while on our road trip to Zion National Park in Utah. The sign definitely drew our curiosity and peaked our interest. It is a Nevada State Park, and there are two ways to get to the park. The fiery looking red sandstone cliffs were formed as a result of shifting sand dunes during the dinosaur age. The earth moving, uplifting and erosion has now created this present landscape.
This park happens to be an unexpected detour for us and we consider this a hidden gem and enjoyed exploring this interesting park thoroughly. It was a warm and beautiful day on our return from an adventure in Zion National Park, so this was a great place to top off the end of our weekend road trip. We arrived to the park using the east entrance.
Take a look at some of these interesting and beautiful sandstone rock formations as well as the stories behind them.
This area is named after an outlaw who used this area as a hideout during the 1890s. This area is a natural basin and can hold rain water collections for many months.
On the hiking trail to arrive at Mouse’s Tank, you will find large boulder/rock areas that have prehistoric petroglyphs. The prehistoric wanderers were the Pueblo peoples. Their approximate span of occupation has been dated from 300 BC to 1150 AD.
Seven Sisters area:
Several beautiful rock formations easily seen from the road as you journey through the valley.
Other cool rock formation areas to explore and visit in the park. A must see include:
Arch Rock areas
The Valley of Fire State Park also allows camping at first come first serve. There are two campgrounds and a combined total of 72 units. There are also RV Camping sites as well.
Rock climbing is allowed but is limited to designated areas within the park.
Thank you for reading!
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The excitement of moving to a new home and new community can be both overwhelming and exciting! Oh, did I mention that the move is driving across the country to a state I’ve never lived before over 2,000 miles away? Making a local move is one thing, but packing a moving truck and driving across the country from California to Florida on your own is another. I need to add in here that we’ve done it twice now. We went from calm quiet days and evenings in California, to thunderstorms and rain everyday and possible hits of hurricanes flying by for 6 months of the year! I was indeed a little nervous but excited too!
Our first move, we spent approximately two years living near the Tampa area. These were the years that Florida had massive hits by hurricanes. It felt as though a hurricane was coming our way every other weekend. We would embrace, hold our breath, and be prepared to be uncomfortable and expecting damage to the house or property. Hurricanes Charley, Frances, Ivan, and Jean made their visit during this year.
It was 2004, approximately a month; mid August, after we arrived into our new Florida home and were working to get the house and ourselves set up and settled in. When suddenly, those thrilling happy feelings would be swooped away by the warnings of the first of 4 hurricanes to visit and impact our new home state during the year of 2004.
Hurricane Charley made its direct hit just south of us in Punta Gorda, Florida at its maximum strength as a Category 4 hurricane. Charley brought massive destruction through this area as well as central parts of the state and to some northeastern states also. I remember sitting in our house hearing the winds and watching the rain slam against our thin windows, and of course not sleeping through the night as the tree branches and twigs fell on the roof all night long. We received approximately 8.5 inches of rain in less than 12 hours as I recall. We were not located in a zone that was ordered to evacuate, so we hunkered down and rode out the storm. We would be without power for approximately 3 days or so although others had no power for several weeks. We were thankful we made it through unscathed and safe. Read more info on Hurricane Charley here:
The second hurricane we had the unlucky privilege of experiencing is hurricane Jeanne, the deadliest storm of 2004. Now, in this case we were not in Florida during the time this storm was making its way towards Florida. We were visiting relatives in North Carolina and were considering when or if we should return home to Florida at this time. Jeanne was making its way towards east and central Florida and it included a path that would take it through the East part of the state and up through the northeastern states.
So, with the understanding that hurricane Jeanne would be moving north, we thought we might get a head of it or we could drive around it as we packed our vehicle and decided to head back home to Florida. Well, we were wrong. We found ourselves smack dab in the middle of the storm as we approached northeastern Florida towards Orlando, and wound up driving through a major hurricane!
Jeanne was the fourth major named storm of the season to hit Florida in 2004. My husband did all the driving, and had the most intense grip on the steering wheel that I think I saw imprints on the wheel by the time we arrived home. We finally made it home safe and sound, but arrived to a community with downed huge oak trees, power lines, and much more damage. However, our personal property and home were okay, as we proceeded to do our routine yard clean up that had become a very common thing during this year. We were grateful to be safe and fortunate that our property had no damage. By the way, for these two hurricanes, we did not have hurricane shutters.
Fast forward about ten years, having moved back to California after just 2 years of living in Florida, now we’ve packed the moving truck and drove once again across the states back to Florida in 2014 to a new area about an hour south of Tampa and would give Florida another try. Learning that this area has not been hit by a hurricane in nearly 20+ years or any if ever had hit this particular area in Manatee County.
Life was going great and we were enjoying our home, our swimming pool, golfing, and the beautiful nature we witnessed daily in our own back yard.
Well, I guess nature said it was time to throw in a little interesting drama. Hurricane Hermine (read more here: ) made its visit in September of 2016, and hit landfall as a Cat 1 in the Florida Panhandle and we did feel some of the outer band effects from it. We were lucky and dodged the bullet this year, but we would not be so lucky during the year we made plans for another change in 2017.
After a life-changing event, we decided to travel more and make a goal of visiting the national parks, and other gorgeous places in the US. As well, we decided to move back to California because of an opportunity presented to us we couldn’t refuse at the time. So, we put our house on the market, and we received an offer fairly quickly, and began packing up the house. We were on vacation at the time of receiving an offer. So, our vacation was not very enjoyable, as we were dealing with negotiations and contracts while on travel. All the while watching Hurricane Harvey destroy Houston, and learning about the next lurking storm festering up right behind it, named Hurricane Irma.
With only about a month to plan, pack, and prepare for a cross-country move (again), we learned quickly that we not only had little time to plan a move, but also had to prepare for a possible major hurricane as well. Watching carefully, being told this storm could be a direct hit, and its path would slowly crawl north throughout the entire state of Florida! We felt trapped, as we knew we couldn’t leave because our home was in escrow, and yet we didn’t want to go through another hurricane.
We finally returned home from our vacation and immediately got to work cleaning up the property doing the normal trimming, lawn cutting, and sweeping the pool, as the home inspection was scheduled for the very next day after our return from our trip. The Hurricane was probably about a week away, and we were about 3 weeks until closing, we continued to pack and care for the yard and pool. It was just our luck, the pool pump died the day of the inspection and we informed the inspector and home buyers we will be ordering a new pool pump and take care of it. We proceeded with researching the best deal and brand of pool pump and ended up ordering a new one after more days had passed from a company located in Miami, hoping for an on time delivery (prior to hurricane arriving).
Hurricane Irma is more powerful than ever and picking up steam and heading for Florida, and with only 10 days until closing, I found myself running around to find available food (and specific food-Gluten, dairy, peanut Free) on the shelves at the grocery stores and Wal-Mart to only find many items were sold out and several empty shelves remained. I was able to get some items we needed but off name brands and higher prices.
Therefore, instead of continuing to pack our belongings to prepare for the sale of our home and move; we found ourselves gathering food, shoveling sand to fill sand bags, and installing hurricane shutters on the windows, which was a very difficult and exhausting task in itself.
Hurricane shutters installed
Hurricane shutters installed
Hurricane Irma finally made landfall into Naples, FL and was projected to move directly in our path in Manatee County. It ended up a category 2 by the time it hit us with about 100 mile / hour winds of which I heard every one of them all night long. Sounding like a freight train was flying by our house all through the night.
Of course, my hubby was sawing logs all night and I was tossing and turning. We were very lucky once again, and woke up to only one small tree topped over and no other damage. Wow, we were so surprised and felt as though our home and pool birdcage (they call this the pool cage) were built pretty darn good.
We did hold our breath while waiting for that new pool pump to arrive from Miami as it finally was delivered about 2 days after the hurricane passed. We proceeded to repair the pool, finished preparing and cleaning the house for move out inspection and were ready to hit the road. We ended up packing everything we owned and rolling out of town right on time and as scheduled. Now, read about how we prepared and planned to ride out these hurricanes with little damage and unscathed.
Preparing for a hurricane can be challenging and difficult if you allow it to be. Plan ahead and prepare. Here is a list of things I do to prepare for hurricanes if riding out the storm (without a generator); I start checking off this list several days or a week or more when a storm is forming and prior to storm arriving; (to prevent long lines at gas station and empty food shelves). Also, mentally prepare to be without power for long length of time: NOTE: We noticed how over dramatic the national news/weather channel was making this year’s storms appear which caused even more panic and over reaction. We watch the local news for more accurate and toned down reports or news on upcoming storms.
Full tank of gas
Fill 1-2 gallons of water for each person in home. Fill the bathtub with water.
Pick up extra light/lamps (or candles) used for camping
Radio- AM/FM battery
Get food; bread for sandwiches, crackers, cans of tuna,
A. I make sure to have extra food in refrigerator that can be eaten cold also
(hard boiled eggs, cold tater tots, pizza, etc.)
Manual can opener
Clear any loose items around the house exterior;
Small potted plants
Hoses, decorative items
Lawn furniture put in garage
*Use water bottles or pitchers or other containers to fill with water and have several extra, for drinking.
*Get sand bags: I used grocery plastic bags to put sand in, and placed sand bags at the front door and back patio doorways.
*Get a cooler or make extra ice packs using zip locks; fill with ice. Keep the refrigerator door closed as much as possible. (This will maintain its chill for up to several hours).
*Put hurricane shutters on windows; this is not an easy task, so make sure you have all map-instructions, screws, and that each shutter matches its screw hole positions on window.
Modern hurricane shutters
Modern hurricane shutters
*Park cars in garage When hurricane hits;
Close all interior doors.
Be ready to go to the most interior room in the home; stay away from windows etc.
And wouldn’t you know it; these storms always seem to arrive during the night.
Also note: our home was built with cinder blocks and to hurricane codes.
In summary, don’t panic when unexpected things occur that you didn’t plan for suddenly pop into your life. Life is full of unexpected turns, challenges and heartache as well as wonderful good things are always happening too. That is life. Take a deep breath, plan to the best of your ability, stay calm and everything will be okay. I feel very lucky and fortunate, and still can’t believe that the 5 years of living in Florida, we went through 4 hurricanes. And I would still live there again if I had a choice at this time.
Thank you for reading! I hope this will provide some guidance and ideas on how to deal with this type of natural event without being to inconvenienced or chaotic.
Check out my recap of these gorgeous Florida beaches here:
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Koko Crater Head Trail: ‘Koko Head Stairs’: The spectacular views will not be the only thing that gets your heart racing during this extraordinary hike up the Koko Head stairs.
This climb of approximately 1,050 stairs (or railroad tithes) is a challenge for any exercise enthusiast and will definitely offer a cardio workout like no other.
Koko Head is the eastern side of Maunalua Bay and the southeastern side of the Island of Oʻahu in Hawaiʻi. On its western slope is the community of Portlock, a part of Hawaiʻi Kai. You will enjoy wonderful views of Haunama Bay and beyond. The climb can be grueling and scenic, so its a good idea to take a rest and take in the views.
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View from Koko Head
There is a section where a larger drop to a ridge is located below, so you take your time and go slow if needed. You may be huffing and puffing half way up the climb, only to learn you have quite a ways to go and are getting higher and higher.
When you reach the summit you will be blown away! It seems to always be windy up there, so be prepared to hang on to your hat or water bottle and be safe.
Things to remember:
1.Wear sunglasses and sunscreen
2. Drink plenty of water
3. Bring camera
4. Hike may take between 1-3 hours
Koko Head stairs is not your average hiking trail. It’s location is centrally located close to all your other fun activities not far from downtown Honolulu.
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So when you break away from your snorkeling, surfing, lounging, shopping and dining; go out and conquer this heart jumping amazing hiking trail!